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Meat shouldn't look like paste

OPINION

  • Pink slime
Pink slime
April 10, 2012|By Jen Kim, For RedEye

Things that should be hot pink: fashion from the '80s, nail polish and hallucinations.

Things that should not be hot pink: ground meat.

This is common sense, right? It's one of those things that shouldn't ever be questioned—like the sanctity of a Chicago-style hot dog or the regret at not having invested in Apple stock when we had the chance.

So you can imagine the shock most consumers felt when they discovered that their tasty fast food ground beef actually originated from a bright"pink slime"euphemistically called "lean finely textured beef." I'm sorry, but if you look at the photos of this so-called finely textured beef, you'll find that the only texture it has is creamy, which is not exactly how I usually envision my hamburger.

Though at least one processing company has filed for bankruptcy following the public outcry against this ammonia-treated beef filler, some politicians, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, have defended the beef industry, claiming the beef was "mislabeled" and "unfairly maligned," as The Associated Press characterized their positions.

Mislabeled, huh? Well folks, I'm certainly not a scientist, but I do have eyes—and those photos look like pink slime to me. They certainly look more like pink slime than lean finely textured beef. Especially true, since I've always pictured meat as solid and red, not pink toothpaste.

And unfairly maligned? I'm going to have to reference Jamie Oliver, the chef who pretty much spearheaded the movement to eradicate pink slime meat from our diets. In an episode of his "Food Revolution" series, Oliver demonstrates how "all the bits that no one wants" and the parts that are "not fit for human consumption" are spun, showered in ammonia, minced, then sold to unsuspecting carnivores who think they're getting hamburger meat, when really they're getting mouthfuls of meat that had been chemically treated for E. coli and salmonella. To me, it seems this ostensible beef product got off a little easy in the malign department.

Few things are more disgusting than this now-infamous pink slime image, which has since launched a thousand social media campaigns.

And I have to say, like everyone else, I am furious. However, not for the reasons you might think. I am pissed off because now I'm too scared to eat hamburgers and other fast-food meats. No more blissful ignorance, like when I believed my burgers truly came from prime cuts of happy cows—all eager to die to satisfy my hunger. Gone are the days of unabashedly stuffing my face with 89-cent tacos, eating as quickly as I could in an effort to get as much into me before my stomach could tell my brain it was full.

Damn right, I am mad. Because now, the next time I think about biting into a delicious hamburger, I will see nothing but that big blob of pink slime slowly coming to get me.

At least I won't be alone. You've seen the photo too. I'll be in the bathroom throwing up if you'd like to join me.

JEN KIM IS A REDEYE SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR.

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